It’s impossible to be bored in Paris.
There are hundreds of museums and monuments, countless neighbourhoods to discover and some of the best food in the world!
But sometimes, if you’ve done the main sights, it can be difficult to find different and unusual things to do in Paris with kids.
I am a Paris native and passionate about my city of which I know almost every single street. I run my agency, Pars-Toujours, specialising in tailor-made and authentic itineraries in Paris. Here, I share my top things to do in Paris with children.
Guest post and photos by Laurence Vuillemin, owner of Paris-Toujours. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and commercial links. For more information see our disclosure policy.
Paris with kids
Paris is a relatively compact city and easy to get around. It’s very walkable and has a fantastic public transportation system. Navigating the French capital with kids best done by a combination of walking and the Metro system.
Given how straightforward it is to cross the city it’s tempting to try and see all the top things to do in Paris as fast as possible. But, like any big city with kids, don’t try and do too much in one day.
If you’re looking for more things to do in Paris for children, read this post on exploring Paris with a 10-year-old and the best things to do in Paris with a toddler. For more European city break with kids inspiration take a look at these 32 best European cities to visit with children.
Want to see more of France? Discover the 25 best places in France for families.
1. Discover the Natural History Museum & the Jardin des Plantes
One of my favourite things to do in Paris for kids is visit the Natural History Museum. Located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, the Natural History Museum is a perfect place for kids aged 3 and over.
Within the museum, the Evolution Gallery (Grande Galerie de l’Evolution) is very impressive with all its realistic models of extinct species. Outside the museum, the Jardin des Plantes is a lovely 17th century garden to enjoy a stroll with your kids. Plus, the garden is home to a playground, some greenhouses and even a zoo with more than 200 species of animals like panthers, crocodiles or orang-utans.
2. Be amazed at the Palais de la Découverte
When visiting Paris with children, the Palais de la Decouverte is a must! It is located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris near the Grand Palais. It is another magical place for kids as well as being a beautiful building erected for the 1900 universal exhibition.
Le Palais de la Decouverte is a child friendly science museum where kids can learn about astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences and more in a fun, engaging way. Different rooms are dedicated to each topic and make the experience very instructive for kids. Some temporary exhibits are also in display. And, if you speak French, do not miss a session at the planetarium!
3. Hunt for treasure in the Louvre
One of the best things to do in Paris for families is to visit Le Louvre. Paris’ most famous museum is incredible but it can sometimes be boring for young kids unless, of course, you take them on a treasure hunt!
Paris Toujours organises treasure hunts of the Louvre for children that turn their visit into a real game and a learning experience. There are two treasure hunts, one for children aged below 11 years and a second for children older than 11-years-old. These treasure hunts take children through Le Louvre and the main collections so that kids can learn as well as have fun!
The Louvre museum is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris and is closed on Tuesdays.
4. Take a ride with Fat Tire Tours
A great way to see the sights with older kids is to take a family friendly bike tour with Fat Tire Tours. The company offer a number of different tours including on to Versailles. See the Eiffel Tower, pass by the Louvre and tick a handful of cathedrals off your sightseeing list as you pedal along.
5. Old fashioned fun at Le Jardin d’Acclimatation
Enjoy some old fashioned fun at this traditional theme park. Created in 1854, the Jardin d’Acclimatation is located in the Boulogne wood, in the 16th arrondissement and is a brilliant place to visit with children in Paris.
It is my favourite place to go in Paris with my kids as there are plenty of activities to entertain them. A small train will take you to the park entrance after which there are farm animals to see, a vegetable garden, an enchanted river and lovely merry-go-rounds. It is an amusement park with a taste of 19th century atmosphere.
6. Cycle along the Promenade Plantée
Located in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, the Promenade Plantée or Coulée Verte is a promenade surrounded by vegetation and is one of our favourite local things to do in Paris.
Much like the Highline in New York City, it was created from an old train line that used to go from Bastille to the suburb of Saint-Maur.
The promenade is seven meters above the streets making it a peaceful place to stroll. On your way you will see many gardens (The Hector Malot garden or the Charles Peguy garden for instance), and go through a few tunnels.
The great thing is that you can walk, bike or roller skate for several kilometres without seeing a single car – something that is pretty rare in a city like Paris! It is open every day of the year.
7. Unleash your inner artist at the Palais de Tokyo
Paris has lots of museums but the Palais de Tokyo is definitely one of the best. Located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the museum is dedicated entirely to modern and contemporary art.
The museum organises various art-themed activities and workshops for kids in order to let them appreciate it in a playful way. The Wednesday and Saturday Tok Tok groups for example are workshops for kids that include stories about art and activities. The museum is opened every day from 12:00pm to midnight except Tuesdays.
8. Go wild at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
Another one of our favourite things to see in Paris is the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (the Museum of Hunting and Nature) located in the Hotel Guenedaud in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris.
The museum is focused on the evolution of wild animals in our society, you will see various stuffed animals like wild boar, wolf, deer, fox… in an atmosphere that appeals to kids! You can also enjoy a nocturnal visit on Fridays making the place even more magical.
9. Bake macaroons at Chez Bogato
For hands on things to do in Paris for kids you should head to Chez Bogato is a colourful pastry shop and tea room. They also host cooking classes here. Located in the14th arrondissement of Paris, rue Liancourt, Chez Bogato offers family workshops, which are a great way to spend some time together.
The last time I went there with my family it was for a macaroon baking session and thanks to the Chef, we learnt all the secrets on how to bake this treat. After the session you will take your macarons home. The location is also very nice; the area with the lively rue Daguerre is ideal for a family stroll after the workshop.
10. Sail boats at the Luxembourg Gardens
Considered one of the most beautiful parks in the capital and one of the best things to see in Paris are the Luxembourg Gardens.
Covering 25 hectares, these gardens offer children in Paris plenty of space to play! Even better, the renovated playgrounds at the Jardin du Luxembourg opened at the end of 2019 and now make up one of the biggest and best playgrounds in Paris.
There are giant sandpits and digging platforms; an enormous slide and swings; ziplines, balance beams, climbing nets and so much more. There’s also green spaces to play football and basketball, an old carousel made by Charles Garnier, the famous Opera architect, and even tennis courts. One of the highlights are the small sailing boats that can be hired and kids push them around with a pole.
The park is located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.
11. Visit the I Love You Wall
It’s only fitting that the City of Love has a wall dedicated to eternal devotion. The ‘I Love You Wall’ was created by two artists, Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito, who over the years and through plenty of conversations with everyone from friends and neighbours to embassy staff, collected hundreds of ways to say ‘I love you’.
Spanning 416 square feet, the wall is covered in 612 tiles made from lava featuring the worlds ‘I love you’ in 311 different languages. Appropriately, the wall is located in Montmartre, one of Paris’ most romantic neighbourhoods.
12. Go to the Pompidou Centre
One of Paris’ most iconic modern buildings has to be the Pompidou Centre. Its official title is the Georges Pompidou National Art and Culture Centre but locals call it “Beaubourg” after the neighbourhood around it in the 4th arrondissement of Paris.
It was named after President Georges Pompidou who had a vision of creating a space dedicated to art and culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Today, the centre has galleries featuring modern and contemporary art, a cinema, a large public library, a film museum and a musical centre. The musical centre includes rehearsal rooms, studios and a concert hall.
Even if you don’t visit to see an exhibition, however, you should visit to see the building itself. The design caused some controversy when it was first unveiled but the unique design is now a firm favourite with Parisians.
13. Discover the tricks of the trade at the Paris Magic Museum
This small museum is great for kids. It’s a private collection of amazing magical artefacts. On display are antique props and gadgets once used by magicians, beautiful old posters advertising magic shows, fun mirrors and optical illusions. Every tour ends with a magic show where audience participation is encouraged!
14. Disneyland Paris
France’s most popular theme park is located just outside of Paris. If you’ve got young children then they will love Disneyland Paris. The park is relatively small compared to its American cousins but that just means its even more kid-friendly.
Despite its smaller size, however, Disneyland Paris is still home to some of the park’s most favourite rides and attractions. There is a nightly parade, you can ride on Space Mountain and Sleeping Beauty’s castle sits at the entrance to the park. Other popular rides include the Animagique Show, Toy Story Land and Crush’s Coaster, named after the cool turtle in Finding Nemo.
Disneyland Paris is a 40-minute train ride from Paris.
15. Visit Asterix Park
Also located just outside Paris is Asterix Park. This is another one of the best theme parks in Europe for kids and is based on the stories of Asterix the Gaul.
There are plenty of rollercoasters for big kids and teens, gentle rides for younger kids and a great selection of rides that will leave you absolutely soaked! There are also shows and performances but these are in French only. Don’t miss the Menhir Express and Le Grand Splatch in particular!
The Asterix Park gets very busy so it’s worth investing in the Pass Rapidus, which gets you to the front of the line for some of the park’s most popular rides.
Where to stay in Paris with kids
There are lots of lovely hotels for families in Paris, take a look at these on TripAdvisor. For a fun place to stay less than two hours away from Paris, take a look at La Croix du Vieux Pont where Zena’s Suitcase visited with her family.
16 thoughts on “2020: the 15 best things to do in Paris with kids”
I would love for our family to do the treasure hunt at the Le Louvre, bake macaroons at Chez Bogato, and sail boats at the Luxembourg Gardens. What a great list of things to do with your kids in Paris. Coming to a large city, especially with kids, can be so overwhelming because there is so much to see and do!
We had a lovely time when we went, although we did find Paris incredibly expensive. The gardens were a particular hit with my kids, as was our boat trip.
Number 9 is our all-time favorite activity in Paris, when the children were wee. Miss those days!
Still bummed we never saw Luxemburg Gardens. But we will head back to Paris!
Of all the places we have traveled in Europe, we still haven’t made it to Paris with our kids. Maybe it’s because neither of us enjoyed it on our previous visits, but when I read your post, it makes me think seeing it with kids might be the better way to go!
Great article 🙂 Somehow, as a Parisian I must say there are major fun places for kids you didn’t mention. First, the great Cité des Sciences / Cité des Enfants in the North of Paris, where there are great activities for kids (games and funny experiences). My mom took me there when I was a kid and it’s one of my best memories (here is a link : http://www.cite-sciences.fr/fr/vous-etes/familles/)
Also I heard about l’Atelier des Enfants in the Centre Pompidou Museum in the center of Paris where there are as well some great activities for kids
Hope it helps !
Thank you so much! We always welcome local suggestions and these sound fantastic 🙂
Recently got back from a wonderful minibreak, our boys are roughly 3.5 and 1 year old – loved it! La Tour Eiffel, Jardin d’accliminatation, Fondation Luis Vuiton and the river cruise have been big hits, but the ‘Paris’ eye / wheel by Place Concorde is now gone 😉 http://www.zenbabytravel.com
I’m so pleased to hear that you had such a great trip! Thanks for the tip re. the Paris Eye, we’ll amend our post accordingly. 🙂
Hi Laurence, really enjoyed reading your article, which is so informative and a ‘must read’ for any parents considering a Paris holiday with kids! Also, checked out your website Paris-Toujours and will be recommending it to anybody staying in Paris.
Interesting list! We did 2 of these things when we spent a week in Paris. The Eiffel Tower, Batobus, and searching out all the Statues of Liberty were high on our list.
Thanks! What were your favourite things to do? Would love any recommendations that you have!
Luxembourg Gardens was a favorite, not only the boats but the amazing playground! The playground at the Louvre was also a hit. Taste testing gelato from different places was also fun. 😉
Amazing suggestions, thank you!!
If you visit Paris and want to head to Jardins du Luxembourg, be aware that the playgrounds are currently closed for a major renovation (2 years they say). You can still have your kids having fun at the Puppet show or the Carrousel.
Thank you so much for the update, really helpful to know!
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